Email Marketing is one of the most actively used marketing channels. But every now then, we get queries that question the effectiveness of email marketing. Many feel its passé while others equate it to spamming. The truth is email marketing has never been more alive than it is today.
The dynamics of emailer marketing is changing fast but basics shall always remain the same – if you share something valuable with your audience, they are likely to engage with your content. Purchasing a database does not work anymore. Brands need to develop their own database of interested customers or potential customers who are more likely to engage with your email. Emails to your curated database is a personal, dependable and a direct way of reaching out to your audience.
‘Out of all of the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them’
– Neil Patel (Co-founder, KISSmetrics)
In this article, we have listed down useful ways in which you can develop your own email marketing database.
1. Newsletter Sign-Up
Make your email sign-up form visible on relevant pages on your website, more importantly the Blog page. Use either an embedded form or a Call-to-Action for people to click through to a dedicated sign-up page. Make sure that it’s in a prominent spot above the fold. The info about the possibility to sign up for the newsletter can be also placed in a pop-up window.
2. Make the email sign-up easy
If you have a sign-up form on your site, make sure it’s easy to fill. Make it straightforward and resist the temptation to collect lots of demographic & lifestyle information at this stage. It will get in the way of collecting those email addresses. Always remember Short and Sweet is the King!
3. Create great content for your subscribers
Good email content deepens the connection with your audience – it could be a powerful subject line (which get your messages opened); your unique voice (which gets your messages read); or niche-specific content your subscribers would find useful and shares with others (which inspires referrals and word-of-mouth). What works is “value exchange” — your valuable information for your prospect’s valued time. Your subscribers need to know they can trust you and that you’re not a self-promoting spam-bot.
4. Multiple Call-To-Actions: Give readers a good reason to subscribe
We all need a little incentive to hand over our email address, but we don’t need too much if we feel an affinity with the brand. Try these…
– Offer a discount off their first purchase
– Explain what they’ll get: special offers, private sales, hints and tips, magazine articles…
– Show them what they’ll get (see our recent articles, news, reader offers etc)
5. Placement of the sign-up form
You’ve built the perfect form. Now where to place it? Will more people see it on the ‘Contact’ page or ‘About us’ page? Should you keep the newsletter signup on your homepage? Or put it in the sidebar too? Decisions, decisions! Here are some top places to try placing an email signup form (or two or three) on your site:
Top menu bar
Header of your site
In your top performing page
At the end of a Blog or Tutorial
Footer of the content
Your bio/About Me page
6. Improve your website speed & user experience
Like a lot of other issues when it comes to websites and e-commerce, speed matters because Google says that it matters. On 09 April 2010, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog announced that, “We’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings.” In other words, faster web pages will rank higher on search engine results pages (SERP) than slower sites.
7. A Gated Homepage
A gated homepage is when a person has to enter their email address on the homepage in order to gain entry to a website’s content. One a person does so, a cookie is kept on their browser so that they don’t have to fill in their email address again to get access. But it is not always appropriate to Gate your homepage. You should have a lot of in-depth content which people are dying to read for them to give their email address. The right time is important too! To find the right moment, you want ‘yes’ answers to questions like:
Will the lead benefit from having a direct conversation about this?
Have you earned the right to contact this lead about your products?
Does A/B testing show a stronger conversion rate requesting lead info now?
Does the content on your site address product implementation?
Does the content answer a question we usually get while engaging prospects?
Does the content answer a question we get often from current customers?
8. An exceptional Landing page
Your landing pages should focus on one main detail and that’s converting visitors into subscribers. Whether you’re asking for contact details in exchange for a discount, a free webinar or something else that the subscribers would like to have, you are bound to get more to sign up. The Design of the Landing Page has to be exceptional too. Your subscribers are only as great as the landing page that get them.
9. Add Social Sharing Buttons
If you don’t have social sharing buttons there’s a likelihood that your content won’t get shared. Someone might want to share the content with a friend but by the time they open up a new window and sign in to their social network, they will get distracted and forget about it completely. Don’t take the risk. Add share buttons so that blog visitors will stay on your site longer. Support your present subscribers to share and forward your content by including an “Email to a Friend” button. That way, you’ll access a fresh network of new people who sign up for your emails. Do not forget to incorporate a “Subscribe” button as well in the footer.
10. Correct usage of words – A/B Testing helps
“Subscribe” is up there with “Register” as an Internet no-no! Remove the words “subscription” and “subscribe”. The term implies a commitment and worse, money. Do away with any “Submit” or “Sign up”! Use first-person language instead – Try out phrases like “Sign me up” or “Send me updates.” Tell people exactly what they are getting by subscribing. Hint: It’s not a weekly email.
11. Lead Generation Ads on Facebook and Twitter
Online networking and social media marketing are useful tools to improve your online leads from which you can derive the email addresses of your potential subscribers. Build relationships with your target market via some of the popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.
12. Facebook Offers to the Rescue
You can host a Facebook contest or giveaway either on an application tab or on your Facebook timeline. However, if you’re hosting the promotion on your Facebook timeline, it’s next to impossible to collect emails. Hosting your promotion from a Facebook Offers App is the best approach since your target audience will have to fill in their email address to redeem the offer.
13. Create Engaging Social Content
A combination of audio and video marketing using rich media can greatly improve the number of subscribers you get. Studies have shown that people like and share content that is mostly Emotional or Funny. You can share the content on your social media pages and drive fans to your website.
Do not miss the opportunity to showcase your website / content links at the right place – for example, your video on YouTube can have your website link in the description. You can also create Cards to drive more traffic. The Subscription part then depends on the last mile conversion on your website.
14. Try and leverage the following Power Tools
a. List Builder by SumoMe
List Builder by SumoMe is for those individuals who want to seriously build their email list at a fast pace. The List Builder uses an email popup form to invite new visitors to join your email list, thus helping you get more subscribers. List Builder contains many features that help make it to the top of our list of email building tools. It’s A/B testing, no branding policy, fantastic templates, display controls, conversion tracking and multiple-popups will easily help you take your email list to the next level.
b. Welcome Gate Plugin
Welcome Gate is another great tool for building a list but this one works a bit differently. Why? That’s because it directs every new visitor to a well-designed landing page without showing a popup. Visitors are only redirected to the Welcome Gate page when they go to your home page. So if someone comes straight to a blog post through social media or any other source link, it would not be shown. A cookie keeps a track of this so the visitor will only see the Welcome Gate page once in their lifetime. After quite a lot of testing we came realized this plugin is more effective and powerful than other similar plugins.
ManyContacts is an easy to setup pop-up bar that sits on top of your website and helps to convert visitors into qualified subscribers. It was designed to help owners of all kinds of websites to increase their conversion rate through the collection and qualification of contacts. It also has a platform where you can easily export emails with details of each of your subscriber (email, device used, location, etc.), which you can add to your email archives.
OptinMonster utilizes opt-in forms as a part of an endeavor to transform your visitors into subscribers. The plugin gives out of the box integration with a popular email marketing service which makes the setup exceptionally easy. The business page of the plugin brags a 1 minute setup time and we can definitely acknowledge that. But you will need to spend more on customization and creation of forms based on your site design and goals.
A WordPress plugin that pops up in a place on your blog that grabs the attention of your readers without blocking their view of your content. Your visitors can open and close the pop-up whenever they want. It works well with any WordPress theme and is integrated with all of the popular email services: Mailchimp, Aweber, GetResponse, Office Autopilot and Infusionsoft.
f. Zopim Chat
There are probably thousands of visitors that come to your site every year and that never contact you. Increase the chances of gaining a new lead by using live chat to automatically reach out to your potential customers that visit your site. The best part about Zopim is that you don’t have to lounge around on the PC throughout the day. By utilizing a programmed trigger, Zopim can naturally send every guest a message following 10 seconds of being on the site saying something like “Hey – do you have any inquiries I can help with?” In the event that they react, they will also be asked for their name and email address which is a win-win situation.
Numerous people have Facebook pages where they engage with fans by posting offers, running contests or uploading photographs. But this can be a pretty can be tedious task for an individual. That is the place an online networking promoting plugin like Woobox can offer assistance and help you take care of all this engagement seamlessly with its page tags. For marketers there is a twofold advantage here. Not just are you enhancing your online networking presence, but you are getting the email address of all those who redeem an offer or take part in a contest.
Digital Marketing Experts around the world have reiterated the effectiveness of emailer marketing. So you should not miss an opportunity to effectively connect with your audience. Get going!
In the age of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Google is taking significant steps to ensure that emails remain a relevant mode of communication. It has not only succeeded till now but seem well set to revolutionize email communication across the world- Inbox by Gmail makes emails not just communication messages, rather a personal assistant of sorts.
Have you spent your time searching for your travel ticket in a heap of emails
Are you troubled by the enormous amount of emails you receive in a day promotions, social, newsletters and of course, business emails
Do you manually spend a significant time assigning your emails into different folders or tags
Google Research suggests 80% of searches on Gmail look for a fact in the email rather than the mail itself
Features under the spotlight
The Inbox by Gmail is your personal assistant to help you manage your emails (read work) better. Here’s what is there in store for you:
The Smart Reply feature, which was rolled out for the Inbox App in November last year, has recently made its way to the Web version. Under this, Gmail would suggest three quick reply options. The reply options are dynamically generated based on the content and nature or the received email. The options selected by you are fed into the system to improve future response suggestions similar to the Spam filters.
Inbox scans your incoming emails and sorts them into different buckets. All seemingly important mails go into your inbox while others get placed into different bundles or folders: Trips, Social, Finance, Updates, Forums, Promos and Low Priority. You have the option of deleting the entire bundle at once or mark as Done.
You can use this feature to snooze the message to a particular date and time when you intend to work or action the message. You just have to open the message and tap the snooze option it gives a pop up to select the scheduled time for the message to reappear.
Are you into the habit of maintaining unread emails in your inbox just to remind you to do a particular thing? Now say goodbye to those unread emails. You just need to tap the Remember To field before the email subject line and type in the reminder. Based on the content in the email, Inbox also suggests the reminder options.
You can pin the messages on top of your inbox even after it’s placed into a folder or bundle. This will act as a reminder to reply to the mail or action the point.
Now you don’t need to regret accidently clicking the Send option Inbox gives you the option to Undo the sent mail. The only catch is that you have got a 15 sec window for the same.
Limitations of Inbox by Gmail
With all the handy features waiting to be explored, Inbox does have its own limitations:
Lack of a universal Inbox makes it cumbersome to switch between multiple Gmail accounts.
No option to mute a mail thread
Machine Learning-based model makes it imperative to train your App. You will have to spend the initial few days navigating through some wrongly bundled mail or not so close replies.
Last but not the least, the most obvious disadvantage is that it works only with Gmail accounts
Artificial Intelligence for Communication: Potential Impact for Marketers
Inbox by Gmail as a concept is built entirely on the premise of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning. For new users, it seems to be a regular app they use but in hindsight, this is an experiment that will govern how people communicate in 2025. Right from smart replies to email sorting, every single concept is geared towards making Inbox do the hard work for you. That will mark the transition of Gmail from an email service to a full-fledged Personal Assistant. It’s worth taking a look at its potential impact for marketers.
Marketing Emails would still be useful. But it would entail a paradigm shift in the way marketing is done. The fight to Stay on top of the inbox will give way to a marketing format to be present where & when your consumer wants to see you.
It’s not that consumers do not like promotional emails. They love offers and promotions but get irritated when either it jumps in at the wrong time or too many spammy mails make it difficult to find your important mails. With Inbox in place, it will allow customers to browse through Promotion bundle when they are actually looking for offers.
Inbox specific Call-to-Action will become important. For example, Snooze Mail feature can be useful for retailers to provide in-store offers that make consumers Snooze the message for their next visit to the mall.
Its machine-learning based so the way your content engages with the consumer will be important. If the interaction behavior of your messages varies differently in comparison to other mails in the Bundle, Inbox will surely provide more focus to your message. The whole idea of machine learning and artificial intelligence is geared towards this to help you perform your work better.
Want to maintain a good relationship with your customers and clients? The best way to do that is by constantly keeping in touch and updating them. Email is perhaps the easiest way to do this. Email marketing is the best resource for both start up and established companies, especially e-retail ventures. According to studies, the total number of worldwide email accounts is expected to increase from nearly 3.9 billion accounts to over 4.9 billion accounts by the end of 2017. In a 2015 study from BlueHornet, over 77% of consumers buy products and services from marketing/advertising emails at least once a month or more. So make sure you include email marketing as part of your marketing plan. Here are a few tips to make email marketing work for you. We also have a detailed checklist for emailer marketing.
1. Make it personal
Personalization increases response rates tremendously. Whatever be your vertical, your customers would rather want an email personalized to them than a bulk mail. Use names in email messages to grab attention. Make sure you spell the names right. You don’t want to send out an email with the wrong spelling. Tools like Mail Chimp make it easy to do this. You can read about their “Merge Tag” feature here.
Food Panda, an online food order website/app has mastered this concept well. They promoted a ‘Buy one, Get one free pizza’ in a unique way. The challenge for them was to make people open the same email with the same offer and same creative one day after another. So they used creative subject line such as:
Pizza, Oh! Pizza, I love you, Pizza
All you need is Love &…. PIZZA!
Invite your friends today – It’s Pizza Night again!
Did someone say free pizza?
Pollard’s throwing bats, we’re throwing offers!
3. Send a welcome email
If you have a prospective client or a new client, it is a good idea to send them a welcome mail. Introduce them to your brand and tell your story with the very first email you send them. If you start with sending new customers promotional emails, you won’t develop a lasting relationship with them. It is the first email they receive after subscribing so it is important to make an impression that counts. According to Yourstory.com stats, subscribers who receive a welcome email show, on average, 33% more long-term engagement with that brand.
If you are using wordpress, Gravity Forms can be an effective tool to send out automated emailers to new customers or new leads.
Here is an example of an ecommerce company, Nykaa that got the welcome email right. The brand not only gave all the information required but also personalized every email.
4. Write exciting content
People do not want to read long boring copies on their emails. So open your email with compelling text or some great offer. It is also a good idea to send them useful content from your blog that they might be interested in. Not all the time do your clients want to know about offers and products so make your copy easy to scan by using short sentences, simple language and bulleted lists.
5. Create a comprehensive data base
In order for your email marketing to be successful, you need to have a strong database. Build your own consumer database by gaining consumers’ permission through your website. To build this, you can use tools such as SumoMe’s List Builder, which help in converting one-time visitors into lifelong readers and email subscribers.
6. Know your spam rules
The biggest problem about email marketing is the risk of spending all that time in creating the mail and it ending up in the spam folder. So before you start sending emails, read up on the SPAM rules. In India, there is no law as such but the closest thing that regulators have come is certain provisions in the IT Act. Under section 79 of the IT Act, Internet intermediaries must take care and diligence with regard to the services they provide, which read together with section 43A of the Act (compensation for failure to protect personal data from theft), can ‘indirectly bring into play a data privacy law’. To know more, read this article, which gives you more details on the dos and don’ts.
7. Have a strong Call to Action (CTA)
When it comes to email marketing no email is complete without a Call To Action. Always include a CTA button in your mailers. Customize the CTA to your audience and provide multiple links throughout the email to make it easy for users to take action. A CTA button will increase click-through rates by making it clear to the reader what the next step they should take is. So while designing, make the CTA button prominent and use enticing words on it to encourage your readers to click
8. Social links
Adding your social media accounts in your emails is a great way to promote your social media platforms. It will give you a chance to expand your community and connect better with your subscribers. Do not stop with just connecting with them; make sure you engage with them actively on social media.
9. Make the email responsive to all devices
Considering that many users will be opening the email on their mobile devices, you need to make sure that the email is responsive to all devices – similar to your websites. This is a common mistake we see in emailer campaigns where a promotional image is sent out – but these images are not responsive so the text becomes illegible.
Different devices display emails differently. Send a test email to your friends and colleagues with different devices and test it out before you send it. Test reveals design mistakes and can predict whether or not a campaign will get caught in a spam filter. You could even set up accounts with a few different email services for easy testing.
11. Use email service providers
Email service providers are ideal for sending bulk emails. You can build email templates, personalize emails, send and track your campaigns on a larger scale. Here are two most popular service providers in the market that you can use:
MailChimp is the best tool for email marketing campaigns. They have a strong policy against spam and offers strong analytics package, full auto-responder functionality, and makes it easy to build, track, and segment campaigns of any type. Mailchimp accounts start at Free for up to 2000 subscribers.
SendGrid offers tools to make it effortless for developers and marketers to craft, segment, test, and successfully deliver emails. It is a cloud based email infrastructure that eliminates the need to build and maintain a system in-house.
Even tiny errors in your emails can have a big impact on their Open and Click Through Rates. Most mistakes can be avoided if we adopt a Checklist approach to sending each email. So, we’ve put together an Email Campaign Checklist with the most important practical points which need to be checked-off before the email is good to go. We usually recommend using Mailchimp or Sendgrid for sending out emailers and tracking its results.
1. Has your distribution list been revised and cleaned of opt-outs and complainants?
From & Sub lines:
2. Does your “From” line include your company name or brand?
3. Is your Subject line clear, catchy and answers the reader’s question “What’s in it for me?”
4. Have you checked that no spam trigger words used in subject line?
Copy (Text and Content):
5. Have your Emails been personalized with correct names? Improves open and click-through rates.
6. Have you used Headings with short paragraphs, bold and bullet formatting to enhance Scanability?
7. Is your Call-to-Action, if used, strong and strategically positioned?
8. Is the Unsubscribe button/link clearly visible and working?
9. Is the link to web-based version (View Emailer on the Web) clear and on top?
10. Are all links working and have custom parameters been added to track in Google Analytics?
11. Are all images alt-tagged with correct links?
12. Have you checked the Image-text ratio? (Ideally 50/50; 80/20 acceptable for E-commerce e-mailers)
If you’ve answered “Yes” to all these questions, you can go ahead and send the email.
For any queries on your email marketing campaigns or if you wish to optimize them, please contact us and we would be glad to help.